Updated: Aug 8
It is with pride and joy I present to you the next member of Team Do Good, the mighty Rich Thompson. I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate Rich here via Tampa Bless and Team Do Good. His willingness to participate in this feature and to provide feedback is highly appreciated. And now, without further ado...
Name: Rich Thompson
Place of birth: Reading, Pennsylvania
Currently reside: Tampa, FL
Family: Wife - Teresa, 3 kids, Clay-15, Charlotte-13, William-10
Alma Mater: James Madison University, Finance undergrad, USF accounting classes for CPA exam, University of Phoenix, Masters of Accountancy.
Occupation: Insurance Advisor - Group Health insurance and Property and Casualty
Activities you organized or participate in related to helping others and uplifting humanity? I realize this is an uncomfortable question to answer because it feels self-promotional, yet it's important to share so to inspire others:
A year ago I would have had a lot more to list, so I will include those as well. Until last year I was on the St. Lawrence Catholic Church parish council and am the prior president of the St. Lawrence Youth Athletic Program (YAP). I am usually coaching one of my children's youth sports, ranging from baseball, softball, basketball, to flag football.
The Tampa Bless 12
1) Favorite pastime or hobby? Why? Please explain.
I love playing with my family and seeing them laughing and having fun. It is a great feeling to see my kids fully enveloped in a family competition with big smiles on their faces. Most recently, it was makeshift pool volleyball. Personally, I enjoy playing golf, basketball, and tennis.
2) Favorite sport, team, or player? If not into sports, your favorite musician or album? Or answer one of each if you’d like or any combo. Please explain why for any one or more of the questions you answered.
Baseball is my favorite sport and I was fortunate to play it for a living. I enjoyed a lot of the organizations, but my favorite would be the Tampa Bay Rays, who are not only the hometown team, but also the one that gave me my second chance as a Major Leaguer. Following them would be the Phillies AAA affiliate Lehigh Valley IronPigs where I spent 5 seasons and developed some great friendships.
3) Favorite movie? Why? Please explain.
Sandlot. It encompasses the fun of playing baseball and the idyllic summer of a group of boys experiencing friendship, sports, and a little trouble along the way. Told from the perspective of the least athletic boy, who got more out of the summer than anyone. Team sports can be a great part of childhood and I think it is wonderful to see children who would not otherwise interact come together in competition.
4) Favorite place (country, city, town, etc…) you have visited and why?
Park City, Utah is a beautiful place and I would love to go skiing there with my family.
5) Last meal? You could have anything, what is it? Why? Please explain.
I would have to go with a steak, scalloped potatoes, and broccoli. No special reason, but a perfectly cooked steak is hard to beat and scalloped potatoes could be eaten for dessert. Just in case I get a last-second pardon I should probably have something green.
6) Three activities or routines you would highly recommend? Please explain your reasoning for each.
1. Make time for God. For me, that means going to weekly Mass and reading the daily Mass readings. I could certainly be doing more. I started making a concerted effort in high school to read a chapter a day from the Bible, with the goal of reading the whole thing, but also without wanting to change anything in my life. However, I did change and have growth in my life. My recommendation would be to open the door to knowing God a little bit more than you do now and see where it goes.
2. Take care of your body. I do not like working out. I like playing sports and competing, but I have never experienced a runner's high and don’t love going to the gym. However, I do feel better when I make exercise part of my routine and eat healthier. A quote a friend introduced to me is “eat food like it’s medicine or you will have to eat medicine like it’s food.”
3. Finish the day with family prayer - As a family every night we say the Our Father, Hail Mary, everyone says personal intentions, followed by the Guardian Angel prayer.
7) A) Personality trait you highly value? Why? Please explain. B) The personality trait you highly dislike? Why? Please explain.
A. Grit and Kindness. For me, grit is a combination of effort and attitude, two things that we can control. I know I was told to pick one, but it is common to have grit and be singularly focused without being kind (empathetic, caring, nice).
B. Contempt. Contempt is a poisonous trait in relationships shown through a lack of respect and being actively dismissive of other people, their value, and their thoughts.
8) Favorite thinker (author, philosopher, theologian, etc…)? Why? Please explain. And what is your favorite piece of advice, quote, or text from them or in general? Why? Please explain.
C.S Lewis. I admire the clarity with which C.S. Lewis can articulate difficult subjects and ideas. I suggest searching “C.S. Lewis quotes” and think you will enjoy the wisdom of a few short sentences. His books have withstood the test of time for children and adults. “What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.” The Magician’s Nephew (1955) “In our own case we accept excuses too easily; in other people’s, we do not accept them easily enough.” The Weight of Glory (1949) 9) Biggest influence in your life or a top one, and what was it about them that really stood out?
My mom and my wife are the 2 biggest influences in my life. My mother is a joyful person who always worked, played, and prayed. I don’t think I have ever heard her speak ill of anyone or complain about her circumstances. She instilled the importance of faith and going to church every week, telling the truth, and has a contagious love of children. My wife has supported me our whole marriage, allowing me to pursue my dreams in baseball while caring for our house and children. Teresa introduced me to the Catholic Church, where I have continued to grow my Christian faith, and is my partner in raising our 3 children.
10) If there is one thing you could change in the world, what would it be?
Just one, wow. At the time of writing this, our country is dealing with COVID-19 and was witness to the suffering of George Floyd. One thing I would change is for all of us to see the humanity of others and act accordingly. We are all fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, but we do not act like it. The Prayer of Saint Francis is a good one right now and particularly that we not so much seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love.
11) Where did your desire to help others and uplift humanity come from? Please explain.
I owe this desire to how I was raised and the examples I have seen through my wife, mom, uncle, and in-laws. It is a blessing to see the good in others and live genuinely with the best intentions. Jesus came so that we may have life and have it abundantly. I believe that our abundance should overflow into the lives of others.
12) What are you working on now and how can people get involved?
Pre-COVID I was coaching my youngest son’s baseball team and prior to serving out my term this past school year I was on the parish council for St. Lawrence and on the board of the St. Lawrence Youth Athletic Program (YAP). YAP was organized in 2008 to promote sport activities in accordance with the Catholic teachings for the youth of St. Lawrence Catholic Church and the Diocese of St. Petersburg Community. Through athletics, we endeavor to inspire young people to be Christ-like in the way they live and help further the formation of their Christian values. The YAP program has inspired the lives of over 2000 children since its inception, including over 600 children playing sports during the year. We strive to create a safe and fun environment for children while providing specific instruction to develop their skill-level to the greatest potential. We promote good sportsmanship, self-discipline, and teamwork in all activities to aid in the personal growth of the children and all families involved. Coaches are a memorable part of people’s childhoods, for good or bad. I think it is so valuable for kids to have a positive coach who not only teaches the sport, but helps everyone see the value of each person beyond what they contribute on the field.
Thank you so much for your time Rich and for all that you do. The place we live in is that much better because of you. I hope that this feature has served to inspire you, as well as successfully celebrate those that help others and uplift humanity.
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